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Woman-Led Tech Startup, MITO Material Solutions, Raises Series Seed Round

Posted By Graphene Council, Monday, August 31, 2020
MITO Material Solutions, a cutting edge developer of additives that enable polymer manufacturers to enhance product performance, announced an oversubscribed $1M Series Seed funding round led by two Chicago-based firms, Dipalo Ventures and Clean Energy Trust.

This investment follows MITO Materials receipt of more than $1.1 million in R&D grants from the National Science Foundation and participation in the Heritage Group Hardtech Accelerator powered by Techstars in late 2019. Additional Series Seed investors who participated in this round include Charlottesville, Virginia-based, CavAngels; Indiana-based HG Ventures, Elevate Ventures, and VisionTech Angels; and Oklahoma-based, Cortado Ventures.

Led by married founders, Haley Marie and Kevin Keith, MITO Materials has pioneered a proprietary graphene-functionalization technique that creates hybrid polymer modifiers. MITO additives enhance fiber-reinforced composites and thermoplastics up to 135% beyond standard performance metrics. 

MITO E-GO and other in-development products are engineered to integrate into existing production lines at an extremely low concentration and with proven compatibility in a variety of material combinations. With MITO, manufacturers can replace existing metal components with composite materials; shedding weight without sacrificing durability.

MITO Materials CEO, Haley Marie Keith commented, “I believe this is a revolutionary moment in the industry. The world is shifting to a need for lighter, stronger, and more sustainable materials; right now we need something better than metal. The partners we secured through this funding round have pulled together strategic customers and suppliers that will help us scale and meet this very pressing market need.”

“MITO’s remarkable technology has tremendous potential to positively impact many industries— from electric vehicles to bioplastics—and we have the utmost confidence in Haley as an operator and a leader, said Paul Seidler, Managing Director at Clean Energy Trust. “We welcome MITO Material Solutions to our portfolio and look forward to supporting them throughout their growth and success.”

Rafiq Ahmed, Managing Director at Dipalo Ventures says,“We started Dipalo Ventures to discover and back exceptional teams solving complex problems. MITO has the opportunity to fundamentally impact cost and performance of critical applications across a range of materials used in products people need every day. Haley, Kevin and the MITO team have displayed grit, capability and results to get to this point and we are excited to be part of their journey.” Dipalo Ventures will take a seat on the MITO Board.

MITO Materials will use funding to stay on the cutting edge as they enter the market with new innovations and continue with their mission to empower a new era of advanced manufacturing where products are expected to be built better and last longer.

Tags:  bioplastics  Clean Energy Trust  Dipalo Ventures  electric vehicle  Graphene  Haley Marie Keith  MITO Materials  Paul Seidler  polymers  Rafiq Ahmed 

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Cambrian is the Proud Canadian Distributor for Applied Graphene Materials

Posted By Graphene Council, Friday, August 21, 2020
Maroon Group, a world-class distributor of specialty chemicals and ingredients across North America, is excited to announce that it has signed a distribution agreement with Applied Graphene Materials. 

Maroon Group’s CASE and technical sales and support team will leverage its extensive customer network to introduce AGM’s proprietary Genable® graphene dispersions technology into the United States and Canadian coatings and polymers markets.

“I am delighted to announce Maroon Group as a very strong partner to help AGM drive commercial uptake of our graphene products in the North American market,” Adrian Potts, AGM’s CEO, said. “Maroon Group has leading expertise in additive sales and customer service, which is essential to support sales at this early stage of the graphene market’s development. With decades of experience in the region, their impressive network and consumer relationships will open up significant potential for AGM.

“The team at Maroon Group is very excited to partner with Applied Graphene Materials,” Tom Papasso, Vice President, Principal Management – CASE, Maroon Group, said. “Their unique line of graphene dispersions is a perfect example of how Maroon Group strives to bring real innovation and value to our customers.”

Tags:  Adrian Potts  Applied Graphene Materials  Coatings  Graphene  Maroon Group  polymers  Tom Papasso 

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Graphene delivers step-change in HDPE performance

Posted By Graphene Council, Monday, August 10, 2020
Working closely with Hexcyl Systems Pty Ltd. a leading supplier of systems for oceanic farming, First Graphene Ltd. has demonstrated improvements in the performance of High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) materials. Hexcyl Systems Pty Ltd. will now progress to advanced trials, making super-strong HDPE oyster baskets for long-line farming systems.

Using First Graphene’s PureGRAPH® products the High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) showed improvements in strength, wear resistance and longevity. The initial results, confirm the potential of PureGRAPH® graphene as a high performing additive for the global HDPE industry.

HDPE is a thermoplastic polymer widely used in packaging (cosmetics, food and beverages), corrosion-resistant piping, geomembranes and plastic timbers. The global market for HDPE was estimated at USD 59 Billion in 2015, with a CAGR of 4%[i].

Craig McGuckin – Managing Director, First Graphene Ltd. believes this an important first step for PureGRAPH® products into this important global market.

“This trial confirms that PureGRAPH® graphene products successfully enhance the performance of HDPE materials in industrial applications. This is an important milestone in our strategy to develop additives for thermoplastic materials”. said Mr McGuckin.

The capability of First Graphene PureGRAPH® technology enabled significant mechanical improvements.

“A low dosage of less than one per cent of PureGRAPH® has generated an increase in yield strength of more than 60 per cent, when compared to the base HDPE product,” said Mr McGuckin.

“Samples showed a more than 10 per cent increase in ultimate tensile strength and at the same concentration, abrasion loss was reduced by more than 50 per cent.”

The project will now move to a larger scale trial in real-world, ocean conditions, commencing in August 2020.

Tags:  Craig McGuckin  First Graphene  Graphene  Hexcyl Systems  Polyethylene  polymers 

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Applied Graphene Materials signs distribution agreement with Arpadis Benelux NV

Posted By Graphene Council, Wednesday, August 5, 2020
Applied Graphene Materials is delighted to announce it has signed a distribution agreement with leading European chemical distributor Arpadis Benelux NV (Headquarters Antwerp, Belgium). The agreement strengthens AGM’s supply position across many of Europe’s largest coatings and polymers markets, providing direct routes into these market sectors across the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, France, Portugal and Scandinavia.

Arpadis works with major global chemicals producers and SMEs, helping manufacturers meet their environmental responsibilities by seeking alternative products and delivering more efficient supply chains. It has a strong focus on products aligned with the coatings, polyurethanes, inks, polymers, aerospace and textiles markets.

The agreement in place between AGM and Arpadis Benelux NV will see the two companies collaborating on customer opportunities and introduce AGM's proprietary Genable® graphene dispersions technology into the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, France, Portugal and Scandinavia coatings and polymers markets. The agreement is exclusive in all regions apart from the United Kingdom, where the agreement is non-exclusive to allow for AGM’s UK sales team to further strengthen existing relationships and develop the strong pipeline of existing sales opportunities directly.

In addition to its own commercial hubs in the U.K. and the United States, AGM now has distribution agreements with local expert chemicals and coatings distributors in the United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Germany, Spain, France, Portugal, The Netherlands, Belgium, Luxemburg, Greece, Italy, South Africa, Scandinavia and Japan ensuring complete coverage in markets with detailed understanding and appreciation of graphene’s potential.

Adrian Potts, AGM CEO commented:
“I am delighted to announce this latest distribution agreement with Arpadis, who are well-known and highly respected by those organisations purchasing specialty chemicals in our target sector markets in Europe.
Following agreements signed over the last month with Arpadis in Europe, Maroon Group in the U.S.A and Will & Co in the Benelux region, AGM has substantially increased its reach and global sales network with over 60 people now focused on selling our products into markets across the globe.

We now have the ability to drive direct commercial discussions with potential customers including sector leaders and household names across the world, and we look forward to demonstrating further commercial momentum for AGM.“

Shane Phoenix, Managing Director, Arpadis commented:
“Arpadis is delighted to be chosen as a distributor in the quest to further develop the exciting potential of graphene technology within the various sectors we operate. We will embed it with our existing portfolio and our teams across Europe are looking forward to supporting Applied Graphene Materials with this endeavour.”

Tags:  Adrian Potts  Applied Graphene Materials  Arpadis Benelux  Coatings  Graphene  polymers  Shane Phoenix 

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Versarien PLC - Launch of Graphene Enhanced Protective Face Mask

Posted By Graphene Council, Tuesday, August 4, 2020
Versarien plc is pleased to announce the launch of its first Graphene Enhanced Protective Face Mask, which utilises PolygreneTM, Versarien's graphene enhanced polymer.

The launch of the new protective face mask coincides with the first two orders Versarien has received following recent prelaunch sales activity, which resulted in 100,000 masks being delivered to a leading British university and 20,000 ordered by a UK electrical and mechanical servicing and repairs business.

Designed and manufactured with a Chinese partner, Versarien's graphene enhanced mask is a filtering facepiece (FFP2 rated version), which is designed to help provide enhanced protection against airborne bacteria and to minimise the spread of viral infection.

It meets the important BS EN 149:2001+A1:2009 standard (Respiratory protective devices), its antibacterial performance is certified according to GB/T 20944.2.2007 and its anti-viral performance is certified according to ISO 18184:2014 (E).  Consequently, it meets the guidelines issued by the World Health Organisation.

The new mask is enhanced with a coated layer utilising Polygrene, an advanced graphene-based material featuring Nanene - the world's only independently Verified Graphene Product certified by The Graphene Council. The addition of graphene to polymers provides many benefits including allowing innovative products to be developed utilising existing production processes. The Polygrene is blended with a sustainably sourced cellulose (viscose) material mix. 

Neill Ricketts, CEO of Versarien, commented: "Our new graphene enhanced mask is just one example of Polygrene's versatility and the high-quality design specifications that can be met using the material. We have taken great encouragement from the initial level of interest and are already in discussions with a number of other potential customers. Importantly, through our partner, we also have the capacity to fulfil much larger numbers of product orders going forward."

Tags:  Graphene  Healthcare  Neill Ricketts  polymers  Versarien 

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Research Partnership with University of Warwick

Posted By Graphene Council, Wednesday, July 29, 2020
First Graphene today announced a research collaboration with world-leading experts at the University of Warwick to enhance the understanding of graphene in a range of polymer systems such as plastic and rubber.

The PhD Project will be conducted under the Warwick Collaborative Post Graduate Research Scholarship Scheme, in conjunction with the Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG) that has established a world- recognised model for successful collaboration between academia and the private and public sectors. WMG has strong links with world-leading industrial partners such as Jaguar Land Rover, who announced in late 2019 they were relocating their advanced research group to the facility.

First Graphene will collaborate with the University’s Professor Tony McNally, who have established capability in incorporating nanomaterials, including carbon nanotubes and graphene into bulk polymer systems.

Using graphene as an additive in thermoplastic materials gives an improvement in properties such as mechanical, electrical, thermal, fire retardancy, chemical resistance and gas barrier. This provides the potential to move lower cost polymers such as polyolefins and polyamides up the “plastics performance pyramid,” creating new value for plastic manufacturers. Potential uses for these enhanced engineering plastics are light-weighting in automotive and aerospace as well as the delivery of a new generation of high-performing fire-retardant plastics in mass transport, construction, mining and oil & gas.

The project will combine WMG’s capability and First Graphene’s operational experience of graphene production and processing to investigate and optimise the impact of surface chemistry, the use of additives and optimising the mixing process technology to deliver further improvements in the properties of graphene-enhanced polymers. Existing First Graphene customers will benefit from this research, which will also enable a new range of PureGRAPH® enhanced polymer and rubber systems.

First Graphene Managing Director Craig McGuckin says this new collaboration is significant and necessary. “It reaffirms our position as the leading graphene producer and innovator. We recognise Warwick University and Warwick Manufacturing Group’s world leading expertise and our need to keep investing in collaborative projects to keep delivering improvements,” Mr McGuckin said.

“This research, which will comprise a PhD project over a three-and-a-half year period, will unlock graphene’s potential to improve strength, durability and the lifespan of a range of polymer systems.” Professor McNally, who is Professor in Nanocomposites and Director of the International Institute for Nanocomposites Manufacturing (IINM) at WMG, says he is delighted to be collaborating with First Graphene on this fundamental research.

“I look forward to working with their research team on this project which will drive real benefits in the industrial use of thermoplastic materials in a range of real-world applications,” Professor McNally said.

Mr McGuckin says using graphene as an additive in thermoplastic materials improves mechanical, electrical, and thermal properties particularly in the areas of fire retardancy, chemical resistance and gas barriers. “This provides the potential to move lower cost polymers such as polyolefins and polyamides up the so-called `plastics performance pyramid’ creating new value for plastic manufacturers.”

The Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG) has a world-recognised model for successful collaboration between academia and the private and public sectors.

Tags:  carbon nanotubes  Craig McGuckin  First Graphene  Graphene  nanomaterials  polymers  Tony McNally  University of Warwick 

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Applied Graphene Materials signs distribution agreement with Will & Co BV., The Netherlands

Posted By Graphene Council, Wednesday, July 29, 2020
Applied Graphene Materials (AGM) is pleased to announce it has signed a distribution agreement with Will & Co B.V. (Will & Co). The agreement further extends AGM's commercial reach directly into the coatings and polymers sectors across The Netherlands, Belgium and Luxemburg.

Since 1924, Will & Co have been delivering marketing, logistics and distribution services for the chemicals, high-quality raw materials and food ingredients industries. Will & Co are increasingly focusing on specialty products and have a clear focus on sustainable relationships, long-term knowledge development and an exclusive network of cooperation partners. Will & Co have developed strong and in-depth knowledge capabilities which have seen them making an active contribution to the progress of numerous innovative products for nearly a century.

AGM and Will & Co have an exclusive agreement that will see the Will & Co regional sales network provide access to customer opportunities and introduce AGM's proprietary Genable® graphene dispersions technology into the Benelux coatings and polymers markets.

In addition to its own commercial hubs in the U.K. and the United States, AGM now has distribution agreements with local expert chemicals and coatings distributors in The Netherlands, Greece, Italy, South Africa and Japan.

Adrian Potts, AGM CEO commented:

"In line with our strategy to continue expanding our footprint with our distributor network for both standard and custom products, it's a great pleasure to be able to announce our agreement with Will & Co for the Benelux region. We are firmly of the view that the key to graphene's commercialisation is the combination of innovative materials technology in an easy-to-use format with a customer approach that is able to explain the practical aspects of use and the true potential of graphene in their applications. I believe we have this blend with Will & Co and look forward to positive progress on revenue growth with our exciting technology for the liquid resins, coatings, composites and polymers sectors."

Jacques van Lindonk, Will & Co Managing Director commented:

"Will & Co is delighted to partner with AGM for the Benelux coating, composite and polymer markets. AGM, known for its innovative expertise, fits perfectly within our portfolio and exclusive network of cooperation partners. The Will & Co corporate philosophy is centered on providing our customers with high-quality products, product development support and services.

Will & Co sees great opportunities for the AGM groundbreaking Genable® products. We are proud to be able to support AGM with the marketing, sales and product development of these products.

We are used to working closely together with our customers on existing and new materials, products and processes. We invite the Benelux market to contact us with all their technical & commercial questions. We look forward to excellent cooperation and mutual success!"

Tags:  Adrian Potts  Applied Graphene Materials  Coatings  Graphene  Jacques van Lindonk  polymers  Will & Co 

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Researchers Achieve Parallel Arrangement of Graphene in Organic Anticorrosive Coating

Posted By Graphene Council, Friday, July 10, 2020
The marine functional materials group led by Prof. WANG Liping at the Ningbo Institute of Materials Technology and Engineering (NIMTE) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), has successfully implemented the directional alignment of graphene nanosheets in organic polymer protective coatings.

This parallel arrangement of nanosheets can give full play to the barrier effect of graphene, thereby enhancing the anticorrosion of organic coatings. The study was published in Chemical Engineering Journal. 

Organic polymer protective coating is one of the most extensively employed and effective anticorrosion strategies for engineering and equipment. However, during the long-term service in the harsh marine environment, corrosive media (such as H2O, O2, Cl-, etc.) will have a strong permeability to the organic coating, resulting in the interface peeling of the coating and the serious corrosion of the substrate. 

Graphene nanosheets with high aspect ratio can effectively enhance their long-term corrosion resistance due to their excellent barrier properties, good chemical stability and antioxidant properties. In particular, the parallel arrangement of graphene in the resin and the optimization and regulation of the structure have always been the core technologies in this field, which are still in urgent need of revolution. 

Through simple dopamine oxidative self-polymerization and ionization reaction, researchers at NIMTE successfully obtained a novel cationic dopamine-reduced graphene oxide (DRGO+) nanosheet as a filler for epoxy coating.

By virtue of the presence of -NH3+ in dopamine coated on graphene, the DRGO+ nanosheets showed excellent dispersion in water-based epoxy emulsion for more than 45 days without precipitation, and could be self-aligned parallel arrangement in the composite coating under the electric field. 

The parallel arrangement of nanosheets immensely improved the barrier effect of graphene, and significantly extended the diffusion path of the corrosive medium, thereby reducing the corrosion rate of the organic coating. 

In addition, -NH3+ on the surface of the new cationic DRGO+ nanosheets could adsorb electrons and Cl-, eliminate local galvanic corrosion, and form a dense passivation layer on the steel surface. 

This work highlights the potential route for the large-scale fabrication of coatings with extraordinary long-term corrosion resistance.

Tags:  Chemical Engineering Journal  coatings  Graphene  nanosheets  Ningbo Institute of Materials Technology and Engin  polymers  WANG Liping 

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Skeleton teams up with TalTech and Tartu University to develop flexible ultracapacitors

Posted By Graphene Council, Thursday, June 18, 2020
Researchers at TalTech's Polymers and Textile Technology Laboratory are working with Skeleton Technologies and the Institute of Chemistry at the University of Tartu to develop ultracapacitors with special durability properties. The project is supported by the European Space Agency (ESA).

Skeleton is at the forefront of ultracapacitor technology. Working with universities and the European Space Agency is instrumental in keeping our technological edge by pushing us to explore new development pathways, says Egert Valmra, Programme Director at Skeleton.

These new types of ultracapacitors are specifically being developed for space technology because they are flexible, light and at the same time very strong. Researchers are using Curved Graphene to make bendable electrodes, which can be made into any shape. It can be useful in applications with extreme space constraints where you need to shape energy storage according to what kind of volume shapes you have.

"The importance of supercapacitors in today's technology is growing. By their nature, ultracapacitors are used primarily in situations where a large amount of electricity needs to be released quickly, " explains Andres Krumme, head of the working group and professor at TalTech's Polymers and Textile Technology Laboratory.

These ultracapacitors are made by electrospinning and consist of nanofibrous nonwovens. The fibers in these materials are 10 to 100 times thinner than a hair. Inside the fibers one can find Skeleton’s proprietary Curved Graphene material that stores electricity and are held together by a polymeric binder. The fibrous structure developed by the researchers is flexible and up to 20 times stronger than the materials used in conventional supercapacitors. Curved Graphene has two important properties for storing electricity: an exceptionally large specific surface area (area per unit mass) and a particularly good energy storage capacity.

The ultracapacitors under development could be used to provide a strong short-term current pulse in rocket engine launchers and controls, cyclic power to satellites when exposed to sunlight, and to open and mechanically move satellite panels.

The working group has managed to turn the idea to laboratory prototype, and hopes to have the first products in the next 3-5 years with the support of ESA.

Tags:  Andres Krumme  Egert Valmra  European Space Agency  Graphene  polymers  Skeleton  supercapacitors  TalTech  University of Tartu 

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ZEN Graphene Solutions Announces Collaboration with UBC-O on Department of National Defence Project

Posted By Graphene Council, Tuesday, June 9, 2020
ZEN Graphene Solutions Ltd. is pleased to announce it will be commencing a new research collaboration with Prof. Mohammad Arjmand and his team at the University of British Columbia (UBC)‐Okanagan Campus, with a $200,000 Department of National Defence (DND) Innovation for Defence Excellence and Security (IDEaS) award. ZEN will be providing in-kind contributions of Albany PureTM materials and consultation with its technical team.

The goal of this collaborative research project is to develop electrically conductive, molded and 3D printed graphene/polymer nanocomposites as more versatile replacements for metallic electromagnetic shields that are currently in use. The new shields will be lightweight and corrosion resistant along with the additional benefits of low cost, ease of processing and improved design options compared to current metallic shields. In this collaboration, the developed conductive polymer shields will protect sensitive electronic equipment in satellites; however, the shields will also have use in a broad spectrum of applications in various industries, such as information technology, medical sciences, automotive, defence, and aerospace. The technology of developing 3D printing multifunctional polymer nanocomposite filaments will also allow for the rapid, low-cost fabrication of complex geometries of multifunctional polymer nanocomposites such as artificial electromagnetic shields. If DND elects to advance the project to Phase 2, it will support the research with a $1 million grant.

ZEN would also like to congratulate Prof. Arjmand and his Nanomaterials and Polymer Nanocomposites Laboratory (NPNL) for being awarded two additional grants. The Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) John R. Evans Leaders Fund and the British Columbia Knowledge Development Fund (BCKDF) awarded a grant of $320,000 that will allow him to acquire the necessary equipment for the synthesis and characterization of graphene and its polymer nanocomposites. Prof. Arjmand was also awarded an additional $101,224 from the NSERC Research Tools and Instruments (RTI) Grant Program with support from the UBC School of Engineering. These funds will be used to purchase a state-of-the-art extruder to develop polymer nanocomposite filaments and pellets. All this equipment will be used to synthesize and characterize graphene materials from ZEN’s Albany PureTM Graphite and develop novel graphene-based polymer composites.

Francis Dubé, ZEN CEO commented, “We are happy to see the Department of National Defence investing in graphene-based technologies with the UBCO team led by Prof. Arjmand and ZEN. We are also pleased that Prof. Arjmand and his NPNL center have been recognized with the additional funding from CFI, BCKDF and NSERC. These equipment purchases will help drive graphene innovation in polymers for ZEN.”

Prof. Arjmand stated, “Our expertise in the synthesis of graphene, polymer processing, 3D printing, and polymer nanocomposites allows us to develop the next generation of high-performance multifunctional polymer nanocomposites with unique properties and complex geometries. We look forward to continuing to work with ZEN Graphene to bring these next generation products to market.”

Tags:  3D Printing  Francis Dubé  Graphene  Mohammad Arjmand  nanocomposites  polymers  University of British Columbia  ZEN Graphene Solutions 

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